By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/11/15
When Chestnut Hill College junior midfielder Andrew Hildebrand began playing at Hatboro-Horsham High, his role model was Eddie Coombs.
“I was a freshman and Eddie was a senior but I had known Eddie all my life because my brother Ryan was a senior and Eddie was always over our house,” said Hildebrand. “Eddie’s just a kid that played hard every day, someone you always looked up to.
“He was that kid in the community that always made a difference. I miss him so much; I wish he could be here.”
Maybe Coombs was not at Hatboro-Horsham Saturday in person, but his spirit and memory continues to thrive. Chestnut Hill was one of 10 men’s teams and three women’s teams that competed at the 4th Annual Edward T. Coombs Fall Ball Shoot Out. The event raises money for the Edward T. Coombs Foundation, which “reinforces the idea of responsible decision making while stressing the importance of safe and healthy peer relationships.”
Eddie Coombs was a standout lacrosse player and a popular student-athlete at Hatboro-Horsham and Marist College who died four years ago in an accident involving a teen driver that had been drinking alcohol.
The tourney also featured Ursinus, Eastern, Delaware Valley, Albright and Alvernia as well as Marist, Robert Morris, Montclair State and Dowling. The women’s field included Marist, Wagner and Bucknell.
“I have (thought a lot about) Eddie and what he has done for me and my family,” said Hildebrand. “I used to be a long pole but I became a defensive midfielder (the position Coombs played) and every time I get on the field I think of him and playing hard.
“When I woke up this morning I know something good was going to happen. Actually, I am still shaking (after the first game against Delaware Valley) because I had so much energy waking up.”
Another Hatboro-Horsham grad who was a freshman when Coombs was a senior, Ursinus face-off specialist Steve Palo, said Coombs helped give young players self confidence.
“I just remember how great of a kid he was,” Palo said. “Obviously, he was a great player on the field; and off the field he was that type of older player that made all of us feel welcome. He was a great friend to everyone.”
Ursinus coach Jamie Steele, who partnered with Eddie’s father, Eric, the event Director, and Hatboro-Horsham to help organize the creation of the event, has remained close to the Coombs family.
“We love coming here,” said Steele. “Eric Coombs and I have become really good friends over the last four years. I recruited Eddie to Ursinus and was crushed when he told me he was going to Marist.
“We are excited to be back here and helping in some way in making something good out of something terrible. It’s turned into a great event; everybody that plays in it says nothing but good things.”
Steele said Eddie touched many people’s lives.
“I can still remember going to his funeral where they were turning people away since the church was full,” he said. “In such a short time he was able to touch a lot of people’s lives – mine included. The weather is awesome every year we come and and I am sure Eddie has something to do with that.”
Concluded Palo – It’s great to just see all these athletes out here between Division III, D2, d1, playing in his memory and seeing allthis good lacrosse- as team first event looking to see where we’re at guns loaded ready to fire off afte rlast year basically set goals don’t wnat to look back at last yera had that team lok forward to us and want to make our goals for our team this year.